Coordinates: The Appian Way Regional Park is the largest urban park of Europe and is a protected area of around 4580 hectares, established by the Italian region of Latium. It falls primarily within the territory of Rome but parts also extend into the neighbouring towns of Ciampino and Marino.
The park aims to be a "green wedge" between the centre of Rome and the Alban Hills to the southeast. It contains a majority of the relics of Ancient Rome to be found outside the city centre. It consists of the Appian Way, from the centre of Rome to the 10th Mile, including the Villa of the Quintilii; the Park of the Caffarella; the Tombs of Via Latina archaeological zone; and the Aqueduct Park as well as other areas not accessible to the public.
The idea of a great archaeological park between the Roman Forum and the Alban Hills dates back to Napoleonic times. Following initial restoration work on one tomb by Antonio Canova in 1807 and 1808 and subsequent restoration in the area of the Tomb of Caecilia Metella by Giuseppe Valadier, it was Pope Pius IX who took the first major steps to organize the archaeological ruins of the Appian Way, with the assistance of Luigi Canina.After Italian unification further efforts were made to develop an archaeological walk from the city centre to Rome's southeast, but this only reached as far as the Baths of Caracalla.
In 1931, a new plan envisaged the Appian Way to become a great park but this idea was threatened after the Second World War with the construction of illegal villas and sports clubs close to the monuments and other housing that encroached on the edges of the zone.Moreover, the new ring road for Rome, the Grande Raccordo Anulare, cut in two the Appian Way at the seventh mile, a mistake that was only rectified with the construction of a tunnel before the Great Jubilee of 2000. The Park finally became a reality in 1988 and in 2002 it was expanded with the purchase of an area known as the Tor Marancia. The Park remains 95% in private hands: 40% is held by aristocratic Roman families; 25% by companies; 21% by small landowners and 10% by the Catholic Church. Attempts to take more of the land into public possession have been constrained by a lack of funds. There remain ambitious plans to extend the Park all the way into Rome as far as the Roman Forum in one direction, and as far as the Castelli Romani park in the other.
The Appian Way (Latin and Italian: Via Appia) was one of the earliest and strategically most important Roman roads of ancient Rome. It connected Rome to Brindisi in southeast Italy. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the road fell out of use. On the orders of Pope Pius VI the road was restored and a new Appian Way was built in 1784 in parallel with the old one, as far as the Alban Hills. The new road is the Via Appia Nuova ("New Appian Way") as opposed to the old section, now known as Via Appia Antica. Mile 1 to Mile 10 falls within the Regional Park. Noted monuments along the route include Porta Appia (Porta San Sebastiano), the gate of the Aurelian Walls, the Tomb of Priscilla, the Christian catacombs of Saint Sebastian, and Callixtus and the Jewish catacomb of Vigna Randanini, the Circus and Mausoleum of Maxentius, the Tomb of Cecilia Metella, the Roman baths of Capo di Bove, the Tomb of Hilarus Fuscus, the Mausoleum of the Orazi and Curiazi and the Mausoleum of Casal Rotondo. In places along this stretch of the road the original surface of volcanic rock is exposed.
The Tombs of Via Latina are Roman tombs, mainly from the 2nd century AD, that are found along a short stretch of the old Roman road of Via Latina, on the southeast outskirts of Rome, within the Regional Park. They now constitute an archaeological park and can be visited. The tombs were discovered in 1857-58. Excavations supported by Pope Pius IX subsequently uncovered various sepulchers and tombs along a 450m stretch of the old road.
The Caffarella Valley is a large park bordered on its northern side by the Via Latina and on its southern by the Appian Way. It extends lengthways from the Aurelian Wall up to the Via dell'Almone and contains several items of archaeological interest, as well as a working farm, and has considerable ecological value, with 78 species of birds and fauna.In Roman times much of the area was occupied by a large estate known as the Triopius. Herodes Atticus was a Greek who became a Roman senator and through his marriage to Annia Regilla he acquired the land of the estate. Two ruins in the park date from that time, the tomb of Annia Regilla and the Nympheum of Egeria.
Six Roman aqueducts made their way into Rome through this small area, which takes its name from a 13th Century watchtower. Over the years the area was a popular encampment for armies seeking to invade Rome as it was on the Via Latina and close to the Appian Way.
The Parco degli Acquedotti is a public park of approximately 240 ha. The park is named after the aqueducts that dissect it, the Aqua Felix and the Aqua Claudia. It also contains the remains of the Villa delle Vignacceto the North West.
The Villa of the Quintilii (Italian: Villa dei Quintili) is an ancient Roman villa beyond the fifth mile of the Appian Way. It was built by the brothers Sextus Quintilius Maximus and Sextus Quintilius Condianus during the 2nd century.The villa included extensive thermae fed by its own aqueduct, and a hippodrome, dating from the fourth century. The emperor Commodus coveted the villa strongly enough to put to death the brothers in 182 and confiscate it for himself.
The villa lies to the south of Via Tuscolana. Its name probably derives from Septimius Bassus, prefect under the Emperor Septimius Severus (193 - 211), is second in size only to the villa of the Quintilii. It was built towards the middle of the second century, close to the fifth mile of the Via Latina, in the time of Emperor Antoninus Pius.
Slightly to the west of the main park area, Tor Marancia is an undulating, wooded area containing considerable biodiversity for an area so close to Rome's suburbs.
In addition to sites from ancient Rome, the Regional Park includes, or borders on, many religious sites and other points of interest, including:
The Appian Way is one of the earliest and strategically most important Roman roads of the ancient republic. It connected Rome to Brindisi, in southeast Italy. Its importance is indicated by its common name, recorded by Statius:
Appia longarum... regina viarum
"the Appian Way the queen of the long roads"
Formia is a city and comune in the province of Latina, on the Mediterranean coast of Lazio (Italy). It is located halfway between Rome and Naples, and lies on the Roman-era Appian Way. It has a population of 38,095.
Albano Laziale is a comune in the Metropolitan City of Rome, on the Alban Hills, in Latium, central Italy. Rome is 25 kilometres (16 mi) distant. It is bounded by other communes of Castel Gandolfo, Rocca di Papa, Ariccia and Ardea. Located in the Castelli Romani area of Lazio. It is sometimes known simply as Albano.
The Via Latina was a Roman road of Italy, running southeast from Rome for about 200 kilometers.
The Circus of Maxentius is an ancient structure in Rome, Italy; it is part of a complex of buildings erected by emperor Maxentius on the Via Appia between AD 306 and 312. It is situated between the second and third miles of the Via Appia between the basilica and catacombs of San Sebastiano and the imposing late republican tomb of Caecilia Metella, which dominates the hill that rises immediately to the east of the complex. It is part of the Parco Regionale Appia Antica.
Cona is a quarter of Teramo, central Italy. It takes its name from the presence of the local church, Madonna della Cona. The Madonna della Cona is a religious symbol of abundance and fertility with a festival the first Sunday in September that is celebrated in her honor.
Villa delle Vignacce, or the "Villa of the Vineyards", was one of the largest in the southern suburbs of ancient Rome, located on via Lemonia, in the Parco degli Acquedotti, or Acqueduct Park. Constructed in the 2nd century AD, and showing signs of restoration in the 4th century, it still remains one of Rome’s lesser documented villas, despite the extensive ruins being available in Rome’s largest public park.
Aspasia Annia Regilla, full name Appia Annia Regilla Atilia Caucidia Tertulla, was a wealthy, aristocratic and influential Roman woman, who was a distant relative of several Roman emperors and empresses. She was the wife of the prominent Greek Herodes Atticus.
The Caffarella Park is a large park in Rome, Italy, protected from development. It is part of the Parco Regionale Appia Antica. The park is contained in the Caffarella Valley and is bordered on its northern side by the Via Latina and on its southern by the Appian Way. It stretches from the Aurelian Wall up to the Via dell'Almone. It contains several items of archaeological interest, as well as a working farm, and has considerable ecological value, with 78 species of birds and fauna. The Catacombs of Rome and Colli Albani are nearby.
The Parco degli Acquedotti is a public park to the southeast of Rome, Italy. It is part of the Appian Way Regional Park and is of approximately 240 ha.
The Villa of the Quintilii is an ancient Roman villa beyond the fifth milestone along the Via Appia Antica just outside the traditional boundaries of Rome, Italy. It was built by the rich and cultured brothers Sextus Quintilius Valerius Maximus and Sextus Quintilius Condianus.
Capo di Bove is an archeological site on the Appian Way on the outskirts of Rome, Italy. It contains the thermal baths of a vast property owned in the 2nd century AD by Herodes Atticus and his wife Annia Regilla.
The Tombs of the Via Latina are Roman tombs, mainly from the 2nd century AD, that are found along a short stretch of the Via Latina, an ancient Roman road close to Rome, Italy. They are now part of an archaeological park and can be visited.
The Vigna Randanini are Jewish Catacombs between the second and third miles of the Appian Way close to the Christian catacombs of Saint Sebastian, with which they were originally confused. The catacombs date between the 2nd and 5th-centuries CE, and take their name from the owners of the land when they were first formally discovered and from the fact that the land was used as a vineyard (vigna). While Vigna Randanini are just one of the two Jewish catacombs in Rome open to the public, they can only be visited by appointment. They are situated below a restaurant and a private villa and entrance is from the Via Appia Pignatelli side. These catacombs were discovered by accident in 1859, although there is evidence that they had been pillaged before then. They cover an area of 18,000 square metres and the tunnels are around 700 metres long, of which around 400 can be seen.
The Villa dei Sette Bassi is an archaeological site located in Rome, Italy.
The Tor Fiscale park in Rome is located between the 3rd and 4th miles of the Roman Via Latina and forms part of the Appian Way Regional Park. It is connected by a short path to Rome’s Aqueduct Park and is dominated by a 30 meter-high tower, which gives the park its name. Several aqueducts traversed the area and their remains are still visible.
The Almone is a small river of the Ager Romanus, a few miles south of the city of Rome. Today the river is polluted and is channelled to a sewage treatment plant and no longer reaches its natural confluence with the Tiber.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Rome: